Money mules

Criminals use people to help them move ‘dirty’ money.

Find out their methods and how this crime works.

 

What is a money mule?

If you let someone else use your bank account to move money, you’re a money mule.

Criminals will pay you to ‘clean’ their ‘dirty’ money. This means moving the money they make from crime, so it looks like it’s from a legal source. 

Never use your bank account to deposit or receive money from a company or person you don’t know or trust.

How criminals recruit money mules

Criminals create fake adverts and posts

Never reply to a job advert online or social media post offering a ‘get rich quick scheme’ or ‘easy money’. These are often criminals looking for money mules.

Always check independent reviews and research any job, employer or offer.

To find genuine contact details for a company, use a website you trust.

Criminals target students

Going to university or college could mean you’re away from home and short of cash. This can make you vulnerable to criminals who are looking for money mules.

If you’re an international student, be suspicious if someone offers you a high foreign exchange rate. Criminals offer amazing deals to help them ‘clean’ money.

Never use your account to move money for someone else. It may have been stolen from friends, family or fellow students.

When you put money into your bank, they might want proof of where it’s come from.

Criminals target people in need of money

If you’re short of money, it can be tempting to try to make some quick cash.

That’s why criminals target people with money worries because they’re more likely to take up their offer.

You can be a money mule and not know it, but it’s still a crime. 

Make sure a job or money-making scheme is genuine before you get involved.

Criminals try to be your friend

Criminals know they’ve more chance of recruiting you if they’re friendly.

They also hope that other money mules who might know you will convince you to join them.

Criminals can recruit and keep in touch with you over the phone, face to face or on social media.

How to avoid being a money mule

Protect your bank card and account details

Criminals may ask you to hand over your bank card and account details so they can control your account.

Unless you know and trust someone, always keep your card and details safe.

Criminals can overpay your ‘wage’ then ask you to send some of it back. Or they might let you keep a little bit of the money you move.

Be suspicious if it’s too good to be true

Any job that wants you to use your own bank account to move money is fake. These money mule warning signs can help you to avoid this crime: 

- Using your bank account – to receive and then move money to another account.

- A job or company is outside the UK – it can be very hard to make sure it’s genuine.

- Everything is done by computer or phone – you never meet anyone in person, but they stay in touch and pay you. 

- You earn a lot of money – but don’t do any real work.

You’re breaking the law if you become a money mule

If you help criminals to move money, you can:

  • Go to prison – for up to 14 years.
  • Get a criminal record.
  • Lose your bank account and money – and find it difficult to open a new bank account.
  • Be kicked off your course – at university or college.
  • Find it hard to get credit – for things like loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts.

We work with other banks, the police and other agencies to stop criminals moving money and to prosecute money mules.

You’re breaking the law if you become a money mule

If you help criminals to move money, you can:

  • Go to prison – for up to 14 years.
  • Get a criminal record.
  • Lose your bank account and money – and find it difficult to open a new bank account.
  • Be kicked off your course – at university or college.
  • Find it hard to get credit – for things like loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts.

We work with other banks, the police and other agencies to stop criminals moving money and to prosecute money mules.

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